Welcome to CITYLIFE in Rugeley & Cannock Chase, a
monthly magazine bringing you our pick of the area’s news,
events and stories. Each month CITYLIFE in Rugeley &
Cannock Chase is delivered to businesses and homes in
Rugeley, Cannock Chase, Heath Hayes, Ravenhill,
Etchinghill, Slitting Mill, Armitage, Handsacre, Colton,
Hamstall Ridware, completely free of charge; bringing
you the best that the area has to offer.
Each issue features heritage stories exploring the rich
history of our area, plus competitions, interviews and the
latest in fashion and style.
Got a story or charity event you want to share with our
readership? Think you’ve snapped an image that captures
the spirit of the region? We want to hear from you!
Editor - Kristen Lackajis 07885 380632
Features - Jono Oates 07785 757201 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Brown 07740 166497 email@example.com
Rebecca Hill 07970 513144 firstname.lastname@example.org
6 Local News
What's been happening in the area
12 It's Coming Home!
Charlotte Benton finds out more as the
region prepares to host the
26 Gift Guide
Pick up the perfect pressie for Mum!
31 Dining Out
We review two of the area's restaurants
Helen Smith 07967 154187 email@example.com
Citylife In Lichfield Ltd
PO Box 7126 LICHFIELD WS14 4JS
CITYLIFE in Lichfield and CITYLIFE in Rugeley and Cannock
Chase magazines are not connected to any other publication or
publisher, and are wholly owned by CITYLIFE in Lichfield Ltd.
Citylife In Lichfield
Citylife in Lichfield Ltd does not endorse any business or organisation
appearing in these pages, and the publication of any advertisement,
editorial, event listing or advertising editorial does not constitute an
endorsement by Citylife in Lichfield Ltd.
Your Local Magazine
Congratulations to E Powell who is the winner of a granite
chopping board from Just Granite, and I Parker who receives
two starters and a bottle of wine at Infinitii in Abbots
Bromley! Well done!
for a Sales
Citylife in Lichfield
Ltd is expanding!
We currently have an opportunity
for a Sales Executive to work on our
two magazines – Citylife in Lichfield
and Citylife in Rugeley & Cannock
Chase. You must be self-motivated
and comfortable speaking to clients
on the phone as well as face-to-face.
The post is commission only and a
car is essential.
For further information and a full
job description, please email
Named Top in County
Stafford Grammar School is a co-educational
independent school for ages 3 to 18, and is
celebrating being named the top performing
independent school in Staffordshire, according
to The Times.
It is now preparing for its first in-person Open
Week from 23rd to 25th March after two years
of disruption from Covid.
Head, Mr Thomas, explains: “We have been
delighted to have been named as the top school
in Staffordshire by The Times, but here at
Stafford Grammar life continues as normal.
“Our academic success speaks for itself, but it’s
the atmosphere at the heart of the school that
means so much. This term we see our whole
school musical ‘Guys and Dolls’ take place, with
pupils from Year 7 to Upper Sixth getting
involved not only on stage, but also with
costume, make-up, set design, lighting and
sound. That’s the true measure of SGS.
“We have just over 400 pupils from Reception
to Upper Sixth, which makes the pupils'
involvement in drama productions, music
performances and sports teams so much more
important. Creating rounded individuals who
get involved and are a pleasure to be around is
our true success.”
For further information, visit
Friendly War Memorial
Hednesford Lions with Cllr Fitzgerald
Year 1 students from South Staffordshire
College studying Countryside and
Conservation supported two projects at
Hednesford War Memorial in December last
This followed funding from Southern
Staffordshire Community Energy Fund to install
a water supply pipe up to the top of
Hednesford War Memorial which will provide
the area with permanent water for irrigating
the plants. The funding for this was secured by
The volunteer students back filled the trench
containing the completed pipework and planted
lavender plants in the formal beds.
Through funding from Hednesford Town
Council Community Fund, given to The Friends
of Hednesford Park, they purchased plug plants
at the beginning of the year and various
volunteer groups have helped to nurture the
plugs into mature plants.
in Full Swing!
Cllr Fitzgerald, Kathryn Sharratt, Cllr Smith,
Cllr Preece, & Sheila Harding
Works to the park and play area at the Cema -
Chapel Street Park in Norton Canes have now
been completed. An official opening ceremony,
which took place on 3rd February, saw the
Chairman of Cannock Chase Council and the
Chairman of Norton Canes Parish Council
declared the park ‘open’ with a ribbon cutting.
The community of Norton Canes can now
enjoy their new green space and make the most
of the newly installed circular pathway with
green gym equipment as well as a new play area
for children and families.
A small woodland area has also been created in
collaboration with the Forest of Mercia which
included the planting of a total of 488 native
trees and shrubs thanks to a donation of
Visit www.cannockchasedc,gov.uk/thecema for
Epic Cycle Challenge
An intrepid Staffordshire fundraiser will take on
the ultimate challenge this spring by cycling
around the entire coastline of England, Scotland
and Wales to support St Giles Hospice.
Retired Steve Munro (61) will be taking on his
epic 14-week journey – which will see him ride
5,266 miles – to fulfil a dream and thank
hospice staff for caring for his brother-in-law at
the end of his life in 2020.
Steve plans to raise funds in memory of Tim by
cycling between 50-70 miles each day, six days a
week, starting from his home in Uttoxeter. He
will ride until he reaches the sea in north Wales
before travelling anticlockwise around the
coastline until he returns to where he started.
to support Steve’s journey.
Cllr Bryan Jones and PC Courtney Hill
Cannock Chase Council has implemented a
Public Spaces Protection Order (Alcohol
Restriction Zones) across the district.
The new PSPO came into force on 1st February
2022 and will last for up to three years. It
covers the following areas: Cannock Town
Centre and Cannock Park; Hednesford Town
Centre and Hednesford Park; Rugeley Town
Centre; Fernwood area; and Ravenhill Park.
The PSPO will enable Police Officers and Police
Community Support Officers to request a
person stops drinking alcohol and/or
surrenders their drink if they are causing, or are
likely to cause, alcohol related anti-social
behaviour or disorder. It is not a total ban on
drinking alcohol within these areas and the
powers are not intended to disrupt peaceful
A person who fails without reasonable excuse
to comply with a requirement imposed and
commits an offence, can be issued with a fixed
penalty of £100.
Does Your Garden
Need Some Love?
Billy’s Borders is
run by Debbie, a lady
gardener who offers
fully insured garden
services and is
certified by the Royal
Her services include
weeding, pruning and
planting - but that’s
not all! You can also have your garden designed and planned
out to suit your needs and requirements by Debbie,
whether it’s redesigning a new garden, having a revamp, or
trying to find ways to attract more wildlife.
Debbie is a local self-employed gardener with a passion
for all things horticultural and can assist in making your
shrubs shapely, your borders beautiful and your lawn feel
loved again. Available as a regular service, or one-off tidying
and planting job, Debbie’s reasonable rates have something
to suit all budgets.
So if your garden is in need of a little TLC this year, give
Debbie a call on 07760 296192 or visit Billy’s Border
Control on Facebook and see how Debbie can help you!
New Health App
Chris Derbyshire with Cllrs Adrienne Fitzgerald &
Valerie Jones copy
Local residents are being encouraged to find
their way to wellbeing by downloading the new
‘Cannock Chase Can app.’
Cannock Chase Council in partnership with
Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles (IHL) has been
working closely with local partner organisations
and community groups over the last 12 months
to develop the Cannock Chase Can
programme, which aims to help people live
happier and healthier lives.
The new app, which is available from Google
Play or the App Store, provides information
about healthy eating, physical activity, healthier
lifestyle choices as well as how to budget, sleep
and manage emotional wellbeing.
It hosts a variety of wellness challenges which
can be undertaken as an individual, group or
family and celebrates success with trophies and
instant rewards provided by local businesses.
The Council is also continuing to call on
inidividuals, community groups, businesses and
organisations to submit challenges and rewards.
Visit www.cannockchasecan.co.uk for more
Youth Speaks Debating
The winning team
The Rotary public speaking and debating
competition ‘Youth Speaks’ was held at
Cannock Chase High School on Tuesday 18th
This year due to ongoing Covid restrictions the
number of entries was lower than previous
years, however the quality of the debating skills
of the students was first class.
The competition was judged by an independent
panel chaired by Martin Thornley the chief
executive of the Stafford and Cannock League
of Hospital Friends, Lisa Bramwell, Senior
Lecturer in Teacher Training, Wolverhampton
University and Elizabeth Partington
This year winning team was from Cannock
Chase High School, debating the challenging
topic of Euthanasia were Mollie Stevenson,
Vivienne Palmer Vipua Mbai
This year the Rotary Club of Cannock
introduced a new award for the best speaker at
the competition the ‘Maurice Partington Cup’
plus a monetary prize going to the school they
attend. Maurice Partington was a highly
respected and long serving Rotarian who sadly
passed away last year and the award is
sponsored by his widow Elizabeth in memory of
her husband who had supported the ‘Youth
Speaks’ event for many years.
The first ever winner of the Maurice Partington
Cup was Vivienne Palmer.
Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration
Trust (LHCRT) has
appointment of a
spent his working
life with HMRC,
Excise. He is a
q u a l i f i e d
accountant and worked in the Criminal
Investigations Division of Customs and HMRC.
He was employed as a forensic accountant,
directly involved in analysing and presenting
primarily financial evidence in support of
He is now retired from full time paid
employment but is keen to assist LHCRT where
he can. Though not a boater himself, he would
love to see a canal in water passing through
Lichfield with all the benefits that that brings.
New WI Group
There has been
m u c h
the past few
weeks about the
proposed formation of a new Women’s
Institute. Meetings have been held, discussions
have been had and lots of ideas have been
exchanged. Finally on Wednesday 2nd March a
WI taster evening was held so that the ladies of
Armitage with Handsacre could get a feel of
what the Women’s Institute is all about.
The first official meeting will be held at
Armitage with Handsacre Village Hall,
Shropshire Brook Road, Armitage WS15 4UZ
on Wednesday 6th April 2022 at 8pm. At this
meeting the new WI will be given a name and a
committee will be elected amidst lots of tea and
Measures in May
The new waste and recycling calendars are on
their way to residents in Cannock Chase. These
new calendars will provide collection dates
from April to November due to the impending
start of the new dual stream recycling service in
May this year.
The calendar not only gives you important
collection dates, it also gives extensive
information that residents need to know about
the dual stream recycling service.
The calendars will be distributed to every
household in the district. They can also be
downloaded from www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk
and replacement calendars printed out.
Sharleen Spiteri - Texas
Renowned band, Texas has announced it will
appear as part of Forest Live, the summer
concert series presented by Forestry England,
playing Cannock Chase Forest on 9th June.
Formed in Glasgow by singer Sharleen Spiteri and
bassist Johnny McElhone, their debut single, ‘I Don’t Want
A Lover’, brought Texas to the world’s attention with a
global hit in 1989 beginning the Scottish band’s illustrious
career. Texas became mainstays of the UK charts with a
raft of hits such as ‘Say What You Want’, ‘Halo’, ‘Black Eyed
Boy’, ‘In Our Lifetime’, ‘Summer Son’, ‘In Demand’, ‘Inner
Smile’, ‘Getaway’ and ‘Sleep’. Classic albums such as
‘Southside’, ‘White On Blonde’ and ‘The Hush’ ensured
their presence among multi-million-selling artists and the
journey continues with the 2021 release of their top
three album ‘Hi’.
Forest Live is a major outdoor live music series that
introduces forests to new audiences in unique, natural
woodland arenas around the country. Over 1.9 million
people have attended a Forest Live gig in the last twenty
years, enjoying great music and supporting the nation’s
forests when buying a ticket. Going to a concert helps
Forestry England create beautiful places for people to
enjoy, run important conservation projects and keep
growing trees. Every year they plant some 8 million trees
sustainably, caring for the nation’s 1,500 woods and
forests and welcoming 296 million visits annually.
Texas joins an already sterling line-up of acts, many of
which were due to appear last year however the
concerts were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic,
Thursday 9th June: Texas
Friday 10th June: Rag ’n’ Bone Man
Saturday 11th June: Kean
Sunday 12th June: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying
Visit www.forestryengland.uk/music to find out
more or to purchase tickets for Cannock Chase
If you think all gyms are the same, with rooms full of mirrors,
bulging muscles and perfectly toned bodies and pressure to
perform, and this put you off from joining, then stepping through
the doors of Gymophobics Rugeley will make you think again!
Located on Market Street, Gymophobics is an award-winning ladies
only health and wellness centre where women of all ages, fitness levels
and abilities are welcome.
Since 2011 the centre, which is part of a highly successful nationwide
franchise, has provided Rugeley ladies with a fun, friendly and extremely
supportive environment, in which to lose weight and inches, get fitter and
healthier, and boost self-esteem.
It’s quite easy to see why Gymophobics have adopted the slogan “Hate
gyms? Love Gymophobics!” as there really isn’t anything not to love
about a gym that focuses on empowering women to be stronger, more
confident and to have fun in doing so!
We’ve teamed up with Gymophobics to offer three
months’ worth of membership for four ladies to win!
To be in with a chance of winning, simply correctly
answer the following question and send it along with
Where is Gymophobics Rugeley located?
A) Anson Street
C) Market Street
To enter, send your name, contact details & answer to Gymophobics Rugeley
at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Citylife in Lichfield Ltd, PO Box 7126,
Lichfield WS14 4JS by closing date of 25th April 2022. New members only -
competition excludes existing members. One entry per household. Multiple
entries disqualified. No cash equivalent. Entrants 18 or over. All information in
citylifeinlichfieldltd.co.uk). Full t&cs on page 34.
By Dr Mark Knight, Transforming the Trent Valley
The prehistoric peoples of
Britain believed that rivers
were a representation of the
feminine divine and that each river
had its own goddess, or more
correctly, that the river was a
manifestation of the goddess herself.
The pre-Christian people of Britain
believed in genius loci or the spirit of place. Trees, springs,
mountains and rivers - were represented by a spirit or a god or
goddess. This caused me to consider our RiverTrent. Work by
linguists over the years reveals that the name of the goddess was
Trisentona, shortened over the millennia to Trent. Previous
understanding of the meaning of this name resulted in translations
such as ‘Trespasser’ ‘Flooding One’, or more tortuously, ‘the Great
More recently, Professor Andrew Breeze of the University of Navarra
has identified a new derivation of the name meaning. Whilst
acknowledging the river as a manifestation of the goddess, he offers a
different conclusion. He breaks the word into three parts: Tri, meaning
‘very’ or ‘great’, then ‘suant’, meaning ‘desire’, and the third part ‘ona’
modifying the ‘suant’ to ‘suantona’, meaning ‘beloved’. This results in
Trisentona meaning something like ‘the goddess of great desire’, or
perhaps better still ‘greatly beloved’.
I think we can get closer still. An archaeological team led by Professor
Henry Chapman of the University of Birmingham unearthed an incredible
series of finds at Catholme, near to Alrewas. A ritual landscape based
around a series of ceremonial monuments focussed on the confluence of
three rivers, The Trent, Tame and Mease, was discovered to have existed
between about 3,000 BCE and 1,500-1,000 BCE. The importance and
sanctity of this unusual triple confluence was of utmost significance to our
forebears. Starting in the late Neolithic, these monuments may have stood
in the landscape for well over 1,500 years and influenced the building and
placement of later Bronze Age burial mounds and other landscape
features. This ceremonial complex was of very great importance and
national significance, despite there being nothing visible above ground now.
The picture shows the confluence of the three rivers. To the right is the
River Trent, the centre is the River Tame, and the River Mease is out of
shot to the left.
The belief in a triple goddess is a pan-European one, representing the
three aspects of the feminine divine. Consider here the three fates of
Greek myth, the three norns of Germanic and Scandinavian myth, or the
Irish and Welsh triple goddess figures. The number three was of great
significance, and in prehistory the three rivers were probably understood
to have given birth to the triple goddess. The ritual landscape and
ceremonial complex that stood for so very long acknowledged this, and
importantly, may have been recognised and celebrated by our ancient
ancestors as the symbolic birthplace of the goddess herself. The prefix or
word-forming tri is of proto-Indo-European origin, meaning (of course)
three. This means that a small revision to Professor Breeze’s derivation of
Tri, would remain with the usual meaning of ‘three’. The goddess
Trisentona’s name would then mean ‘thrice-beloved’, and this would also
recognise the ‘three-ness’ of the triple goddess and the importance of the
confluence where three rivers meet.
Bringing these aspects together, these three rivers, the Mease, Tame and
Trent gave birth to the triple goddess, with the creation of the Catholme
Ceremonial Complex as the celebration of that birthplace. The river then
becomes a manifestation of the goddess, and the goddess a representation
of the river. Almost lost to us on the cusp of forgetfulness, she was called
Trisentona the thrice beloved, shortened over the years to Trent.
It’s Coming Home!
By Charlotte Benton
The Commonwealth Games, and hopefully a multitude of
medal-winning performances, are coming to Birmingham this
First held in 1930, the Commonwealth Games unites members of the
Commonwealth of nations every four years in an exuberant celebration
of sport and human performance. From its humble beginnings, originally
comprising 11 countries and 400 athletes, today the games are a global
spectacle bringing together 6,600 sports men and women from 72
nations and territories.
This summer, between Thursday 28th July and Monday 8th August, the
Commonwealth Games will be on our home turf as Birmingham
becomes the heart of the games.
In fact, the games are taking place at venues all across the West
Midlands and further afield, including venues such as our very own
outstanding beauty spot - Cannock Chase!
So, there is no time to waste, in just a few short months our local
community will host athletes from across the Commonwealth in this
international sporting extravaganza.
Showcasing exactly what our region has to offer, The Games’
mountain biking event will take place around the trails and tracks of
Cannock Chase. This off-road event is on Wednesday 3rd August and will
see athletes exhibit their athleticism, balance and bravery as they
navigate the paths of our local forestry in a quest for gold!
Spectators will be able to look on from the sidelines of the race as
the athletes climb the tortuous hills of our terrain, displaying their
greatest feats of effort and endurance before beginning an exhilarating
descent to the finish line.
But it is not only Cannock Chase that will be home to such inspiring
and invigorating displays of talent. Sutton Park will play host to the
Deer are at their
during dawn and
dusk, so their activity
coincides with times
when the roads are at
their busiest, through
the morning and
evening rush hours.
Cemex (Rugeley) has
recently funded an
expansion to the Cannock
Chase Deer Safety
Project. This latest
technology of virtual road
fencing also works to deter deer away from the roads.
It's believed there's a deer population in the UK of more than two
million and recent research shows around 75,000 are involved in vehicle
collisions each year, with 10,000 being killed instantly. Deer collisions on
multifaceted event that is triathlon and para triathlon, where athletes
will swim, bike and run in the vicinity of the 2,400-acre nature reserve
and its roads. Meanwhile, a brand-new aquatics facility has been built in
Sandwell to host both the swimming and diving events throughout the
A total of 19 sports and eight para sports will take place during the
games, across a host of venues including the Alexander Stadium, the
NEC complex and Arena Birmingham, as well as numerous other
locations across the West Midlands and beyond, inclusive of Lee Valley
Velopark, the indoor cycling centre, which was purpose-built for the
London Olympics in 2012.
There is no denying that this is our chance to experience a sporting
show with a long-lasting legacy right on our doorstep! Previous games
have seen historical sporting events such as the ‘Miracle Mile’ as Sir
Roger Bannister and John Landy became the first people to break the
four-minute mile in Vancouver at the 1954 games, meanwhile our very
own Nicola Adams became the first gold medal winner in the flyweight
division of women’s boxing during Glasgow’s 2014 Games.
So, what are you waiting for? Visit www.birmingham2022.com to find
out how to get involved with this sporting spectacle, to purchase event
tickets or simply to learn more about it!
Cannock Chase and surrounding areas range between 140 and 160
Rob Taylor, Chase Ranger who runs the Cannock Chase Deer Safety
Project, said: “We have seen some positive results from the deer
deterrent trials but warn drives to still to take extra care by sticking
to the advisory 40mph speed limit whilst travelling across the Chase.”
Temporary deer warning signs have been put up and signage alerting
drivers of potential black spots for deer collisions, but deer can jump
out onto the road at any time of the day and anywhere, so stay vigilant.
Here at Just Granite Ltd, we pride ourselves on being the experts for any worktop needs you may have.
Be it a beautiful bespoke and unique kitchen worktop, a bar, bathroom or even a barbecue area, we have
an extensive in-house range ready to be chosen by you! We stock a varied range, in a variety of materials,
such as our own competitively priced quartz, granite, marble and porcelain, as well as all the top brands
from around the world.
There really is no reason to go anywhere else!
Win a Granite Chopping Board
If you require our services please do not hesitate
to call us on 01785 711096 or email your quote
request to email@example.com
With the largest variety of natural stones in the Midlands, the
solid slabs are kept on-site and are available for a virtual viewing
from 9am-5pm on Monday to Friday. Located at The Stone
Works, Pillaton Hall Farm, Penkridge, ST19 5RZ.
We’ve got a bespoke Chopping Board (in the
colour of your choice) to give away! To be in
with a chance of winning this magnificent prize,
simply answer the following question correctly:
Where does the supply
of granite come from?
To enter, just send your name, contact details and answer to Just
Granite Competition at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your
entry to Citylife in Lichfield Ltd, PO Box 7126, Lichfield WS14 4JS by
the closing date of 22nd April 2022. One entry per household.
Multiple entries will be disqualified. No cash equivalent. Please note
you must be 18 or over to enter. All entrants’ information is
processed in line with GDPR Data Protection Regulations and our
Full t&cs on page 34.
By Kathy Baxter
Our January Zoom welcomed guest speaker Ken
Robertshaw who gave a talk entitled ‘6 Dogs, A
Sledge and Me!’
Retired police officer Ken developed a passion for exploration
of the Antarctic from an early age and jumped at the opportunity
when he was invited to drive a sled team across the Antarctic.
This meant working with half wild huskies pulling a sledge across
bleak but beautiful landscapes starting from Tromso and travelling
across north of Sweden in temperatures down to minus 35
For our February Zoom meeting, we welcomed Mark Lewis
whose talk was ‘Tying the Knot: The Lore of English Marriage.’ In
his talk Mark explained how many of our present wedding
customs originate from traditions going back to medieval times.
Superstitions played a big part in how these traditions started.
Overall, this was a remarkably interesting talk giving us an insight
into how superstitions are reflected in modern ceremonies.
A minute's silence was held for former WI president Heather
Williams who sadly passed away recently.
To commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee, we will be holding a
function at the village hall, full details will be decided at future
New members to the group are always welcome. If you are
interested in joining us, please email
By Trish Mellor
& Lesley Smith
Cannock & District Soroptimists celebrated 67 years as a club in
February with a dinner held at Brocton Hall Golf Club.
President Jackie Prince’s theme for the year ahead is ‘It’s what you do that
counts’ which was used by the first Soroptimist club 100 years ago. The room
was decorated with a woodland theme to celebrate the local area of
outstanding natural beauty that is Cannock Chase.
Club members attended with family and friends along with fellow
Soroptimists from most of the other clubs in the Region and including Midland
Chase Region President Judith Carder.
President Jackie introduced the guest speaker, Lesley Smith, who was there
as herself rather than in costume as one of the historical women she often
portrays. Lesley has been a supporter of the Soroptimist clubs in the area for
Lesley, who is an author, historian, presenter, and curator of Tutbury Castle,
was as entertaining and charismatic as she always is as she told the story of
how and why she became curator of the Castle.
Cannock Soroptimist Lynne Tuckley thanked Lesley on behalf of everyone
there for all she has done over many years to entertain and help them raise
funds but particularly on this occasion for sharing so much of herself with
Visit www.sigbi.org/cannock-and-district or Facebook at
www.facebook.com/SICannock for more information.
A Window on the Past
Brereton Road was part of the main route from London to the
north-west - the ‘King's Highway.’ As such it was a coaching
route. In 1818 there were coaches daily to and from London,
Liverpool and Manchester.
Before the Cannock Mineral railway line was built the northern part
of Brereton Road was considered to be part of Horse Fair and it is
often referred to as ‘The City’ or ‘Marl Pits.’
For many years the most imposing building was the Cottage Hospital,
which stood on the site of Briar House.
1. A 1920s postcard showing the old Britannia Inn on far left and
The Beehive, a little general store on the corner of Wharf Road kept, at
the time of this photo, by William Sharratt.
2. This is a little nearer to Lichfield and was taken around 1905.
The two women on the right are outside the Nelson Inn, originally
called the Lord Nelson.
3. Thatched cottage near the modern entrance to Newman
Grove. According to George Key in his history of congregationalism it
was built on waste land by Samuel Sleigh, a manufacturer of fur (or
beaver) hats in the late 18th century. He was a dissenter and the first
dissenting service in Rugeley was held in this cottage about 1794. These
dissenters were to later build the Congregational Church in Elmore
4. An early 19th century milestone rediscovered during the
widening of the A51. The roughcast stone with a cast iron faceplate was
refurbished and placed near its original position opposite Briar House
and eventually listed.
5. The Laurels, a private house that later became a children's
home known as Castle Haven. It first appears in directories as The
Laurels in 1892 when it was the residence of Thomas Smith. By 1912 H
Cecil Gardner lived there. From around 1916 until it was demolished, a
doctor lived there, at first Dr Paton, followed in the mid-thirties by Dr
The Landor (local history) Society is a focus for those who wish to
learn more about the history of Rugeley and its surrounding parishes. It
was founded in 1953 and was named in honour of Walter Noble
Landor, local and county historian, who became the Society’s first
President. More information is available at
Future of Pye Green
Cabinet members at Cannock Chase
Council have listened to concerns made
by residents about the plans of
Hednesford Town Council to transfer the lease
of the Pye Green Community Centre to the 1st
At its meeting in March, Cabinet decided against
allowing the town council to transfer the lease.
They believe the lease should remain with the town Councillor Phil Hewitt
council so the popular centre continues to provide
benefit to the wider community.
Hednesford Town Council has two lease arrangements with Cannock
Chase Council which allows it to run the community centre on payment
of a peppercorn rent. The current leases have 105 years remaining.
The lease arrangements require the town council to formally obtain
the permission of Cannock Chase Council where any major change to
the building or its letting is planned.
The Cabinet was making its decision in the light of significant public
concern that several community groups currently using and hiring the
community centre would be directly affected by the scouts taking on the
At a Cannock Chase Council meeting on 16 February a petition with
1,453 signatures was presented to councillors, opposing Hednesford
Town Council’s plans. The petition was accepted by the Portfolio Holder
for Innovation and High Streets, Councillor Phil Hewitt, who gave a
commitment to review residents’ concerns and said a decision on the
lease plans would be made at its next Cabinet meeting.
Explaining the reason for Cabinet’s decision, Councillor Hewitt said:
“We have been advised that the scouts are looking to use the
community centre for five nights a week and for 14 weekends during the
year. Buit unfortunately this will mean that five current hirers of the
building - from the local community - would no longer be able to use the
centre and would be displaced. One of these groups has 60 participants.
“The scouts do a fantastic job in Hednesford but when a change in the
leasing arrangements could have such an impact on residents’ use of a
facility designed for wide community use, we do have a duty to listen and
act as we see fit.”
My Month in
By Amanda Milling MP
The ongoing situation in Ukraine is one we all watch with worry
The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary
have already taken action against Russia. We have made crystal clear our
commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
We will continue to work with our allies and partners to uphold the
rules-based international system in relation to Ukraine and the
To Advertise your business
please contact our sales team on
institutions that underpin it.
The Prime Minister has spoken to President Zelensky on a number of
occasions to reiterate the UK’s support.
As a Foreign Office Minister, I am echoing this support both in the
House and as I hold calls with counterparts around the globe calling for
solidarity with Ukraine.
Our support for Ukraine, alongside our allies, is unwavering. Similarly,
we must be clear to Russia that any further incursion into Ukraine will
come at a serious cost.
Many constituents have contacted me asking for ways to support the
brave people of Ukraine.
The best way to help is by supporting the Disasters Emergency
Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
The Government is also matching pound-for-pound the public’s
donations up to the first £20 million.
If you would like to help those in need visit
https://donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal where you can
make a donation.
In With The Old!
By Richard Winterton
classic - this
1960s G Plan
sideboard makes a
stylish statement in
the home today.
As well as being a smart way of securing something unique,
auctions are also an environmentally savvy choice.
Furniture is a great example.
A friend’s daughter was getting ready to start at university last year and
needed to furnish her digs.
But brand-new flatpacks were immediately ruled out – the only option
for her was good quality, second-hand teak furniture.
Why? Because something made from scratch inevitably has more of an
environmental impact that simply reusing what’s already in existence.
As the auction world revolves around recycling in one way or another,
so buying and selling under the hammer is the original eco-friendly option.
But it’s not just about carbon footprint.
Mid-20th century teak is once again bang on trend and you can secure
originals in great condition at auction.
From Victorian dressers to designer dining suites, modern light oak to
mahogany, vintage vinyl sofas and leather Chesterfields to 18th century
stools, marble-topped tables to metalwork chairs, the quality and quantity
never ceases to amaze us.
Anything from antique to quality modern reproductions can be found in
the saleroom alongside other practical equipment such as desks, office
chairs and filing cabinets and more unusual vintage items.
There’s also plenty of scope for upcycling too, reusing resources and
breathing new life into distressed items through restoration and
It’s an interior designer’s dream – and you can sleep soundly knowing
you’ve done your bit for the planet, too!
Watches and jewellery are commonly recycled – whether as heirlooms,
vintage accessories or even for scrap value – but the green principle
applies equally to everything we handle.
We don’t cherry-pick. Our estate clearance specialists check everything
inside and outside a property, including all outbuildings and sheds as well
as cellars and attics. That’s why you can access a fantastic range of tools,
garden items and household electricals at our auctions alongside the
antiques and collectables.
We sell white goods of all shapes and sizes, often in superb condition,
including fridges, freezers, tumble driers and washing machines, and other
electricals such as televisions, gaming stations, record players and hi-fi
systems, vacuum cleaners and pressure washers.
Everything’s PAT tested, too.
You could bag a nearly new Samsung, LG or Sony TV for just £100 at
auction – that’s an environmentally friendly bonus worth switching on to!
To book an appointment for a free valuation of anything from jewellery and
watches to pictures, furniture and all types of antiques and collectables, contact
The Lichfield Auction Centre, Wood End Lane, Fradley Park, on 01543 251081
or email to email@example.com. Visit www.richardwinterton.co.uk.
During the lockdown, Cannock & District
Men’s Probus introduced weekly Zoom
meetings. These proved a resounding success
in maintaining member contact and in attracting new
members and have given the club a unique quality.
When life returned to normal we resumed our
fortnightly live meetings in the Cannock Conservative
Club however, due to popular demand, we have
continued our Zoom meetings on alternate Mondays.
These Zoom meetings have acquired a life of their own
and have given us the freedom to study and discuss a
wide range of interesting, controversial, and sometimes
If you would like to join us at our next Live or Zoom
Meeting, please contact Barry Dowell on 01543 503320
Cannock & District
By Peter Arnold
Cannock & District
By Alison Cardy
Since the 2021 AGM,
the world has
changed but despite
a pandemic, our Club has
survived and even grown,
Anne and Sheila
During her term of office Anne Bumford, as Chairman,
had to find new skills as she together with her committee,
got to grips with Zoom. As not all members were
comfortable with the technology enforced by lockdown, we
also had to establish new ways to communicate, to ensure
all members were included.
There was much hilarity as fingers learnt to dance either
on keyboards or tablets but we persevered and the early
days of ensuring the camera was not pointed skywards and
learning to mute when we welcomed a Speaker, now seems
a distant memory.
Sheila Burrows, the new incumbent Chairman, presented
Anne with a Thank you Card and Gift of appreciation from
the Club. Handing over, Anne thanked her Committee and,
as she has done following each meeting shared a thought for
the day – “Life’s like a Camera. Focus on what’s important.
Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives and if
things don’t work out. Take another shot!”
Retired or semi-retired, professional or business ladies
meet on the first Thursday of each month at The Chase Golf
Club at 12 noon, where they share a meal and fellowship
with Speakers on interesting topics. New members are
welcome. Contact Barbara on 01889 882166 or Sheila on
By Margaret Bennett
Rugeley WI had a good turnout for its January
meeting. The speaker for the evening was Jean
Morris giving a talk on ‘Stafford Street
Jean told members how in 2009 the churches in
Stafford came together to provide Street Pastors to go
out to care for the community; working together with
the local police and the local authority to make Stafford
a safer place.
There are approximately 250 Pastor Groups working
in towns and cities all across the UK. A team of three
Street Pastors can be found in the towns between
10:30pm and 4:00am, usually on a Friday and Saturday night, but this can alter to
include Bank Holidays and special events. They are non-judgemental and care for the
vulnerable who may have had too much to drink or just need help.
The group gives out flip flops for tired feet, water, lollies, space blankets for
warmth and sick bags to enable those who would otherwise be refused transport
to go home safely by taxi.
WI members thoroughly enjoyed Jean’s talk and a vote of thanks was given by
Barbara Johnson. A raffle and quiz was held during the evening and refreshments
Rugeley WI meets every last Wednesday in the month at St. Paul’s Community
Hall in Rugeley at 7:30p.m. If you would like to join please call Barbara Johnson on
01889 586855 or Barbara Coppard on 01889 804889.
Paul Martyn Furniture
Paul Martyn and Company was
founded in 1987 in converted Georgian
farm buildings at the award-winning
Heart of the Country Shopping Village
at Swinfen, near Lichfield.
The unique room settings are the
perfect backdrop for the many ranges of
furniture that it designs and produces and
customers really appreciate the bespoke
service, which includes having individual
pieces of furniture designed in a chosen
style, size and colour.
Paul Martyn’s selection of real woods include oak, pine and rustic and reclaimed
timbers, with all of the furniture being made by skilled craftsmen using traditional
methods, and can be hand waxed, lacquered or painted in a selection of colours.
The extensive showrooms feature many different and unusual ranges of home
furnishings to complement the beautiful furniture. These include lighting and
mirrors, kitchenware and clocks, stylish ceramics and decorative accessories all to
enrich and embellish the home. There is also an excellent ever-changing selection
of unique and quirky gift ideas.
The Heart of the Country Shopping Village offers a blend of 20 individual shops
and restaurants, with ample free parking, a popular fairy trail and woodland walk.
It’s the perfect location for relaxed shopping and dining away from the hustle and
bustle of the High Street.
Tel: 01543 481592, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit
www.paulmartynfurniture.co.uk or www.paulmartyninteriors.co.uk.
Hanson’s Auctioneers has launched new
valuation events at its Bishton Hall
Staffordshire premises. Every Tuesday 10am-
3pm Melissa is conducting Jewellery, Gold and Silver
Valuations, and every Saturday 9am-1pm is Antiques,
Toys, Railwayana and Retro.
Mark Holder, Bishton Hall Manager, said: “We are proud
to reopen following a dreadful pandemic last year, now
restrictions are over we feel the time is right to open our
doors and see what wonderful items can be entered into
“We hold monthly auctions here at Bishton Hall, with
over 900 lots of Antiques, Collectables, Toys, Jewellery and
Fine Art. You never know what will walk through the door,
it’s a different item each day!”
Hanson’s Auctioneers is also conducting FREE home
visits Monday to Friday for those larger items and bigger
collections – covering all surrounding areas of Staffordshire.
Charles Hanson, together with his team of specialist
valuers, will value on site at your home, or you can visit
Mark Holder at Bishton Hall Monday to Saturday.
Email Mark at email@example.com or
call 01889 882397.
Search for the Bower Queen!
There’s still time to apply to become
the next Lichfield Greenhill Bower
If you think you’ve got what it takes, simply
send your name, age*, postal address, email
address, and contact telephone number to
firstname.lastname@example.org by the closing date
of 20th March 2022.
The Bower Queen selection process will be
held at The George Hotel on Sunday 3rd April
*over 18s only
Over the years there have been many themes for the Bower Day children, from
Frozen, Superheroes, Star Wars, Harry Potter and World Book Day.
This year, the area is celebrating the Commonwealth Games as Birmingham is hosting it
for 2022, so the Bower has chosen Commonwealth Games as its Prince and Princess
theme, along with Mardi Gras (because everyone deserves a party!)
Children between the ages of 5-15 will join the Greenhill Bower Queen on the official
float this year, passing through the streets of Lichfield in this age-old traditional carnival.
The selection for the Bower Prince and Princess 2022 will take place at The Guildhall
in Lichfield on Sunday 10th April and Bower Day is Saturday 4th June. To apply please
contact Perdy via e mail at email@example.com or text 07704949722 with your
child’s name, date of birth and contact details.
Bower Prince & Princess Theme:
Commonwealth Games & Mardi Gras
Boswell Bear is also looking for sponsorship this year -
can any local businesses help?
J HOWELL &
FUNERAL DIRECTORS LICHFIELD
LICHFIELD’S LONGEST ESTABLISHED INDEPENDENT,
FAMILY RUN FUNERAL DIRECTORS.
SECOND GENERATION BUSINESS HERE TO ASSIST YOU
AND YOUR FAMILY.
24 hours a day
We are proud to be Lichfield's longest established family run funeral directors offering a wide range of
choices to suit all requirements. Horse drawn hearse, non religious ceremonies, floral tributes and
memorials are but a few of the services we offer.
Pre-paid funeral plans are also available.
For a truly personal service please call
Private Chapel of Rest 116 Netherstowe,
Lichfield, Staffs. WS13 6TS
Lower Brook Street Rugeley 1900s
George Key promotional
Keys' Motor Clothing 1921
Rugeley’s King of
the Donkey Jacket!
The Donkey Jacket is, today, perhaps more of a fashion item
but its history and heritage dates back to the hard-working
navvies on the ship canals and the miners on the coalfields in
the 1890s, and was the invention of well-known Rugeley tailor,
George Key. Our feature writer, Jono Oates, explains how the Key
family name became synonymous with hard-wearing clothes and
garments and how George’s invention became famous across the
country, and the world.
George Key was the elder son of John Robert Key, a tailor, who lived
at 6 Lower Brook Street, Rugeley. His father started the business in the
late 1880s and George and his brother, John Key Junior, both worked in
the family business.
George Key opened up a separate mail-order business on the upper
floor of his father’s shop after realising that he could post out durable
clothing, such as corduroy and moleskin trousers, to the workers on the
canals network that was quickly spreading across the country, especially
in South Wales and in Manchester.
In 1889 George designed, and produced, a hard-wearing, but loosely
fitting, jacket for the workers on the Manchester Ship Canal. George
came up with the idea of a jacket that was not tied to the waist, but had
two wax cotton shoulder panels, which kept the lower part of the jacket
stable, so it did not flap around and get caught up as they were digging
and laying bricks etc. There are several reasons as to how the jacket
received its name, but most sources suggest it was called a Donkey
Jacket after the donkey-engine, a steam-powered engine which was used
in the mining and maritime industries.
Key used to advertise his garments in local newspapers where the
men were at work and in December 1893 was advertising his corduroy
and moleskin trousers in the South Wales Star newspaper, with the
trousers costing eight shillings and six pence (43p in today’s money) and
which came with patterns and a free measurement form.
He was also an innovator and in 1897 he patented the ‘Vydo-Measure’,
an expandable measuring device which would precisely calculate the
exact space to be left between each button hole on a jacket, waistcoat
or coat, so that they were all uniform. By the early 1900s Key had setup
a clothes’ manufacturing warehouse, called the Keystone Works,
where they produced both men’s and women’s clothing. The works
operated until the mid-1980s, and there is now a small housing
development on the original site, called Keystone Mews.
George Key was heavily involved in the commercial, and community,
life of Rugeley and served as a councillor on the Rugeley Urban District
Council from 1897 to 1900, and was a Justice pf the Peace from 1912.
He was closely connected to the Heron Court Congregational Church
and regularly attended the Sunday School services.
In February 1921 Keys were advertising in the Staffordshire Advertiser,
promoting their range of garments for the rapidly growing motoring
trade: leather motor coats; raincoats; helmets and gloves for the motor
car or motor cycle, and for both men and women.
By the following year, however, tragedy struck when George Key died
in January 1922, aged just 57. George had been in ill-health for several
years having suffered several heart failures. He had been taken ill while
out driving his car in December 1921 and on Saturday 14 January 1922
he was so ill that his family had asked a nurse to attend to him overnight.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, he was struggling to breath and
the nurse went down to the kitchen to fetch him a glass of milk. As she
was pouring the milk, she heard a crash from the bedroom and when she
rushed upstairs, she found the bedroom window wide open and that
George had fallen out of the window and was lying dead on the ground
underneath. At the coroner’s inquest a verdict of accidental death was
reached, the doctor’s report suggesting that George had gone to the
window to try and get some fresh air, had suffered another heart failure,
and had then tumbled out of the window to the ground below.
The Key name continued for many years, with a management team
operating the Keystone Works, the shop on Brook Street, and George’s
younger brother, John, running the menswear shop on Market Street,
which then moved to Tamworth Street, in Lichfield.
The Donkey Jacket has now become a fashionable item to wear, and
can be bought on the internet and on the high street, but originally it was
worn by men carrying out hard, often brutal, labour on the canals, mines
and shipyards of late Victorian, Industrial Britain. The 100-year success of
this basic working man’s jacket was down to one man from Rugeley –
George Key, the King of the Donkey Jacket.
Sources: The British Newspaper Archive
How Does Your
By Piper Nurseries
Spring is very much in the air. With frequent sunny days
appearing by mid-March and daffodils in abundance, it’s time to
start increasing the range of tasks in your garden.
There’s much to be done at this time, from preparing seed beds and
sowing seeds, to cutting back winter shrubs and generally having a tidy
up in and around the garden. It’s also time for your first lawn mow of the
Plenty of hardy annuals, sweet peas and wildflower mixes can be sown
in March, along with veggie crops, such broad beans, chillies, chard,
potatoes and tomatoes, whilst bulbs can be planted too in pots.
As well as the usual spring flowers peeping through the soil, you may
have notice that weeds have been doing their best to flourish too and it’s
worth starting to get rid of them early in the year in order to keep on
top. Digging with a hand fork is best as it ensures you can get right to the
As the temperature creeps up, the amount of slugs and snails making
an appearance in your garden will increase too as they find lush new
growth simply irresistible! Take control with organic slug pellets and keep
those pesky blighters at bay!
Regarding your first grass cut, it’s usually a tough one as grass is long,
often damp and can make for hard work. Give your mower a little TLC
before you use it by scraping any old grass trimmings off the underside
and blade, this will make it lighter to push and also extend its lifespan.
Regular mower maintenance is also a must so put it on your list for this
Despite the sunshine, and a bit of warmth on our faces, March and
April can be deceptive months, with sudden cold snaps and windy
weather scuppering our outdoor plans. To this end, make sure you have
plant coverings to hand in case of an unexpected frost.
Above all, get out there, enjoy the greenery that’s starting to flourish
and take in the fresh air!
Piper Nurseries is situated on Watling Street (A5) at Gailey, near
Penkridge, ST19 5PR.
At The Cedars
At the Cedars has an extensive range of Suzie
Blue Jewellery and many other gifts, both online
and in-store, to make sure that your Mum
enjoys and remembers her special day! Visit
www.atthecedars.co.uk for further details.
Jewellery with Life
Emily Jane is passionate about creating her pieces
as much by hand as possible; making each piece
truly unique, just like you. These silver hoop
earrings are beautiful, delicate and the perfect gift
for Mum this year! Priced at £20 and available
from www.jewellerywithlife.co.uk or join the
Instagram community at @emilyjanedesigner
Buy someone the perfect gift with a Radio
Frequency Skin Rejuvenation treatment. This lovely,
relaxing facial is designed to stimulate the collagen
production for a more toned and contoured
appearance. Buy gift vouchers now for that someone
special at £39 per facial or buy a course of three for
£99. To purchase, visit Erase UK, 1 Tudor Row, Wade
Street, Lichfield, WS13 6HH. Tel: 01543 419516.
Vouchers can be posted.
Treat Mum to something extra-special
this year to let her know how much
you care. We've got some beautiful,
bespoke gifts from local craftspeople
and retailers... take a look!
These gorgeous local mugs by artist Mandy
Billington incorporate the beautiful buildings of
the city, including Lichfield Cathedral,
Dr Johnson’s Birthplace and the old clock.
Priced at £12 each and available from MB
Tel: 07841 108207,
Lichfield Piano Centre
Make beautiful music together with a romantic
gift, such as this new beautiful white piano, which
comes with a five-year guarantee. Available from
Lichfield Piano Centre, Curborough Hall Farm,
Watery Lane, Lichfield, WS13 8ES.
Tel: 01543 419550 and Mobile: 07956 411701
A special gift for Mother's Day. You supply the
photo and we can print a picture of Mum onto a
mug, bespoke t-shirt, or even embroider a print
onto a pillowcase or tablecloth. Contact
Instaprint at 21-23 Albion Street, Rugeley.
Tel: 01889 583482.
Mercia Spirit Lab
Treat your Mum to the perfect G&T this
Mother’s Day! Gift sets include gin glass, a locally
crafted gin of your choice and aromatic mixers!
Priced at £39.99 and available from Mercia Spirit
Lab, Bishton Hall, Bellamour Lane, Rugeley.
Tel: 01889 529291. www.merciawhisky.co
January 2022 saw exciting times at Brewery Street
Shopping Centre, home to many of Rugeley’s independent
small traders, with the building being sold to new owner
Tim Hawkins and his wife Paula.
On purchasing Brewery Street, Tim commented: “I am a local
resident and, having grown up in Rugeley, see the value to the
community to keep Brewery Street Shopping Centre as it is.
Brewery Street has always been a great place to nurture local
talent and would be a huge loss to the community if this was just
sold off to an investor with no real interest in the local people.
This influenced our decision to purchase the property. We truly
believe in Brewery Street Shopping Centre and the community it
Although the centre is under new ownership, Mike Brazier is
still at the helm, assisted by Dave Allen, and following a facelift on
its interior during lockdown last year, they are looking forward to
continuing improvements to make people’s shopping experience
Changes have also been made at The Arcade Cafe, an integral
part of Brewery Street Shopping Centre, with Jane Leadbeater
becoming the new cafe manager. Jane has introduced new
homemade dishes to the menu, including cottage pie, chilli, chicken
curry and cheese and potato pie. There are also daily specials
coming to the new-look menu, as well as plenty of the old
Extended opening hours now see the cafe open till 4:30pm and
a return to Wednesday opening till 2pm. Dogs are also welcome
in an allocated dog friendly seating area. For full details, and to
make enquiries, visit The Arcade Café’s Facebook page
Units are available to in the Centre let for those interested in
starting their own business. If this is something which might be of
interest, please contact Mike on 07966 453338 or Dave on 07526
By Harry Thornton, The Landor (local history) Society
Rogation Sunday, which many people will know falls on the
Sunday before Ascension Day, is still observed by some
country churches in the once traditional way with a
procession from the church out into a nearby field for the blessing
of crops and prayers for a good harvest. In town churches prayers
are also sometimes said for the success of local businesses.
Rogationtide, which includes the three weekdays before Ascension Day,
was introduced by Bishop Mamertus of Vienne in south east France in the
fifth century, and the word comes from the Latin verb rogare meaning ‘to
ask,’ because the Gospel reading for the previous Sunday included the
words “ask and ye shall receive.” In this country rogation days were
apparently anciently called ‘gang days’ from the Anglo Saxon ‘gangen’
meaning ‘to go’ of ‘walk’, and the milkwort was once made into garlands
and carried in procession on these days.
A common feature of rogation days in former times was the ceremony
of ‘beating the bounds’ in which a procession of parishioners led by the
minister and churchwardens would proceed around the parish boundary
to pray for its protection over the coming year. A more secular
secondary purpose also became established which was to ensure that
knowledge of the parish boundary was annually fixed in the minds of each
generation, and it is said that sometimes boys were even beaten at
By Jill Gooch
February saw the resuming of our
monthly meetings and, after
welcoming members, President
Meena gave a presentation about the
traditions of Hindu weddings.
Hindu weddings follow culture rich
festivities over a few days, binding not
only the couple, but the families too.
Photographs of Meena’s family weddings
showed the wonderful traditional
clothes: vibrant red and gold, and heavily
embroidered sarees for women and long-sleeved tunics and pants for men.
Mehndi ceremony takes place a couple of days before the wedding when
henna is used for decorative art on the bride’s hands and feet: with hidden
initials of the groom that he has to find. The ceremony itself takes place under
a Mandap, a wedding altar of an elevated decorated platform: prayers are
offered to Ganesha the God of beginnings, good fortune and the remover of
Floral jai mala garlands are exchanged between the newlyweds, corners of
their garments are tied together, and couples make promises as they go round
a holy fire. The groom places a Mangala Sutra (black wedding bead necklace)
around his bride’s neck and Sindoor (red powder) bindi on her hair parting
to signify she is now a married woman. Wedding guests give monetary
presents and pay forfeits with money during much laughter and joyousness.
Cannock WI meets on the second Thursday of the month at 10.30am at St
Luke’s Church Centre and welcomes visitors at a cost of £4. Updates and
details are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/oakleafstlukes.
significant points to make them more aware of the boundary. Apparently,
the Catholic Church no longer observes rogation days but their
observance by Anglicans is optional and there are special collects and
Until at least the 1960s, children of the old St. Michael’s School at
Brereton marked rogationtide by a procession out into nearby fields for
prayers with their teachers and vicar. The photo shows Brereton children
returning past the Springs farmyard from a rogation service with the
Reverend Peter Clarke, in May 1964. Note children crossing the brook
on a plank bridge.
Tuesday 22nd March
Rugeley & District Lions Club
A presentation of Anne Boleyn by Lesley Smith. Lesley is the
Curator of Tutbury Castle and is well known for her portrayal of
historical figures. She has previously joined us on three occasions
as Queen Elizabeth 1, Nell Gwynn and Mary Queen of Scots and
these have been exceptionally well attended.
Venue: St. Augustine’s Church
Price: £10, to include a glass of wine or soft drink.
Tickets available Instaprint at 21-23 Albion Street, Rugeley WS15
2BY. Over 18s only.
6th- 9th April
The Prince of Poisoners
A musical tale of the Rugeley poisoner,
written by Dan Smith and Claire
Venue: The Rugeley Rose Theatre
Tickets can be booked at
www.ticketsource.co.uk/rugeleymusicaltheatrecompany or 0333
Rugeley Library Chess Club
A fun and friendly drop-in chess club for all ages and abilities. Free
Venue: Rugeley Library, Anson Street
What Is a Mum?
By Jo Howell
Ihave never been blessed with having my
own children; not that it was a path I
particularly chose but one that just didn’t
go my way. I go through periods in my life
where it deeply saddens me and other times
where I am perfectly happy in my own
company with no one else to worry about.
But often I do think that just because I do not
have any offspring, my maternal instincts did not
switch themselves off either – so maybe, I am a
Mum in other ways than the obvious.
I’m a Dog Mum….
Jo & her fur baby,
Harley the Labrador has been in my life for nine years and we’ve been
through toilet training, the terrible twos, the sulky teenager, and the
times she’s turned her nose up at food – although in all fairness, this is
few and far between! I’ve pulled thorns from her paws, ticks from her
ears and wiped her eyes and nose on more than one occasion. I’ve held
her paw when she was poorly and cried my eyes out when I left her at
the vets after she had a chunk of her ear bit off – and yes, I also sit in the
dark when it’s thundering, or the fireworks are going off, so she doesn’t
feel scared. Like any ‘child’ her needs come way before mine and I would
always do anything to protect her.
I’m a Godmother…
I am very blessed to be Godmother to three wonderful boys and two
gorgeous girls… and whilst we live miles away from each other, they all
have a very special place in my heart. I have seen them grow in their
Mummies tummies; welcomed them to the world and celebrated every
birthday, Christmas, and every holiday possible with gifts, treats and
sweets – much to their parents’ delight!! We have funny conversations,
pull silly faces, and talk about school, boys, girls and always, without fail,
say I love you.
I’m the Work Mum…
I started a new job six months ago as a ‘Senior Manager’ and promptly
inherited a team of 10 lovely colleagues. They range from 25 (over half of
my age!) to mid-40s and have different personalities, quirks, and ways of
working - we’re like a very functional Walton’s family! And of course, at
the head of every family is the one person who cares, nurtures,
empowers, motivates, admonishes, protects, and fights for her brood. We
may not have worked together for very long but like any ‘Mother Swan’,
God help anyone who attacks my cygnets!
So being a Mum isn’t just about bringing a child into the world – it is
that and so much more. And as Mother s Day approaches on the 27th of
March, remember that your role as a Mum stretches past the Hallmark
cards, chocolates, and flowers – it’s 24/7 love, attention and care for
someone who needs your hand to hold, your shoulder to cry on, or your
calm voice of reason.
Not flesh of my flesh,
nor bone of my bone,
but still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
you didn't grow under my heart
but in it.
- Fleur Conkling Heyliger
Read more of Jo’s work at www.justanaveragejo.blog.
As whisky matures and develops its complex and
satisfying flavours, some of the liquid disappears,
seemingly mysteriously, but in reality, through
evaporation. Distillers romantically call the missing
whisky ‘the angels’ share’.
Jeremy ‘Jez’ Roney and Paul ‘Oz’ Horrocks are
interested in angels’ shares of a more tangible
nature. With a passion for bourbon, the American
rye whiskey, they are on a journey to create their
own English version and they are offering a unique
Under the banner
of Mercia Whisky,
located at Bishton
Hall in Rugeley,
Jez and Oz have
Mercia Rye, which they say embodies the Anglo
Saxon spirit and builds on the growing English
interest in rye whisky. Now they are forging plans
to build their own distillery, expected to be
operational by 2023.
What’s the deal?
Creating a whisky is a love affair, and you must be
in it for the long term to make it work. That’s why
Jez and Oz have worked out a winning
You have the opportunity to buy one or more 50l
casks of whisky which are held in bond as they
mature. In three years’ time, when the whisky is
ready for bottling, Mercia buy it back from you at
8% p.a. compound interest. This means you have
a Great ROI and you are on the launch team of a
fine and rare English whisky.
Your funds will help
entrepreneurs build a
new distillery at a site
within the Midlands.
And, in addition to
your return on
investment, you will
be presented with your own bottle of the new
Ready to be an angel and take your share in
this exciting venture? You can find out more at
www.merciawhisky.co or you can pick up with
Jez and Oz at the Mercia Spirit Lab in Rugeley.
Drop Jez an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or
call 01889 52 92 91. Make a day of it and book
onto a Whisky or Gin Tasting Experience,
which are open to everyone.
Roller blinds are a stylish and practical window
shade that can be a real focal point in the home.
This summery Willow pattern in Dusky Rose is
available from Haywoods Blinds, 3 Cannock Road,
Chase Terrace, Burntwood. Visit
www.haywoodsblinds.co.uk for more information.
Electric vs High efficiency Gas?
1.8kw electric fire costs 41p/hour* – more than
twice the running cost of this gas stove at 19p/hour*
3.1kw heat costs just 31p/hour* - or 10p per
kilowatt per hour*
High Efficiency Gas Stove £1195
*Emmas’ Standard EDF Tariff at home: 7.37p/kwh
gas, 23p/kwh Electric
Dresser by Nigel Griffiths of Derbyshire from
the Monastic Range. Available from family-run
business, Golden Oldies Antique and
Reproduction Furniture, Crown Bridge,
Penkridge, ST19 5AA. Tel: 01785 714722. Open
7 days a week. Local delivery available.
The Radford is an opulent double-ended roll-top
freestanding bath with elegant rim detailing, offering
classic symmetry. A true statement piece to enhance
the look of even the most discerning bathrooms!
Available from Tippers. www.Tippers.com
Spring is most definitely on its way so
now is the perfect time to get the duster
out, open the windows wide, and give
your house some much needed TLC! Our
interior guide is filled with some of our
favourite local retailers and stylists, to
bring you some fabulous inspiration for
Just Granite is a well-established family run
business, we specialise in Granite, Quartz and
Solid surface worktops, vanity tops.
Tel: 01785 711096
Paul Martyn Furniture
Holker Chair available in Harris Tweed and
leather. Large selection of other chairs available
across five showrooms, along with a range of
interior accessories and made to measure
services. Available from Paul Martyn Furniture,
Heart of the Country Shopping Village, Swinfen,
WS14 9QR. Tel: 01543 481592.
Vision blinds are an innovative window furnishing
that feature two layers of translucent and opaque
horizontal striped fabric that combine to create a
striking modern feel. Seen here in Verona Pewter,
these beautiful blinds are available from
Haywoods Blinds, 3 Cannock Road, Chase
Terrace, Burntwood. Visit
www.haywoodsblinds.co.uk for more information.
Just Bathrooms & Panels
Loving this modern classic design.
With stylish matt tap, and wall hung unit it would
be perfect in an ensuite shower room.
Just Bathrooms & Panels are an independent
Suppliers of Bathroom Suites, Showers, flooring
and decorative Panels. Local deliveries are free of
charge. www.justpanels.co.uk Tel: 01889 576669
Raising the Steaks!
By Kristen Lackajis
I’m not going to lie… I’m a carnivore
and proud! Nothing makes me
happier than a lovely juicy slab of
meat on my plate, so when I was
invited to try the food at eminent
steakhouse, Miller & Carter in
Cannock, I willingly obliged!
With several restaurants across the
region, Miller & Carter opened its doors
in the new Cannock premises merely a few months ago, however business is
Previously the Mill Farm pub, the interior has been decorated opulently in
typical Miller & Carter style, including muted neutral tones, leather
furnishings and highly polished glassware to boot.
On being greeted, seated and served with a delicious cocktail (an espresso
martini, of course!) we perused the incredible and varied menu which boasts
a plethora of steaks, and features practically every cut you can think of!
Starters of Sticky Chipotle Chicken and Pan-Seared Scallops set the tone
for what was to be a fantastic meal… with tasty, sweet bites of chicken
teasing the tastebuds, and scallops adorned with a white wine sauce, crispy
pancetta and straw fries hinting that was so much more to come.
Being a bit of a steak connoisseur, I really do know what I like… and it’s a
fillet done blue! There’s not many places that you can order this dish and
know it will come out perfectly cooked, but Miller & Carter did not fail to
The Stag’s Leap
The Stag’s Leap just outside
Rugeley town centre is a
popular community pub with a
wide range of food and drinks, so we
sent Jono Oates along to sample
some of its tasty delights!
As it is part of Marston’s Generous
George chain, the menu is filled with
traditional pub classics, steaks and grills,
pizza and more, so has lots of choices
for all tastes. I chose the Vegetable and Lentil Chilli for my main course,
followed by the Rocky Road Sundae, while my partner opted for the 8oz
Rump Steak and the Bramley Apple Pie for dessert.
Once ordered the food arrived very quickly and we did not need any
encouragement to tuck into these hearty dishes just as quickly! My chilli
dish was made with vegetables, beans, red lentils and soya mince, with a
spicy tomato and chilli sauce. It came with a good helping of pilau rice
and two slices of garlic bread. A very warming and comforting dish.
My partner said that his rump steak was delicious, he had asked for it
to be cooked medium and it was spot-on, with a pink inner centre and
not over-cooked on the outside. It was served with a colourful selection
of tomatoes and garden peas, with onion rings and ‘proper’ chips, with a
swirl of peppercorn sauce.
The Rocky Road sundae was deliciously-naughty - all chocolate,
marshmallows and ice cream and went down a treat, while my partner’s
apple pie was filled with chunky pieces of Bramley apple with a
satisfyingly-deep crust and he chose vegan ice cream to go with it.
impress! My Angus Filet Mignon was delicate and tender, with a beautiful
buttery texture that literally melted in the mouth. The meat had merely
kissed the pan (just as I like it!) and was beautifully pink once cut. My
partner chose a sirloin, medium rare, and was similarly delighted with
how it was cooked and marvelled at the flavour. Served with the famous
onion loaf, a balsamic tomato and the refreshing lettuce wedge salad
with a stilton dressing, the meal portions were more than substantial
and we barely had any room for dessert… although we bravely
soldiered on and ordered a Crème Brulee and an Espresso Tiramisu –
the perfect sweet treats to round off an exemplary meal!
Find out more about Miller & Carter Cannock, or book a table, at
www.millerandcarter.co.uk or call 01543 466770.
The Stag’s Leap is the ideal place to pop in for some traditional pub
grub, whether for a lunchtime, an evening meal or for a Sunday roast, and
will certainly leave you feeling satisfied and well-fed!
The Stag’s Leap, Wolseley Road, Rugeley WS15 2ET. Tel: 01889 584587.
Tastes of the Season
By Simon Smith
Cook for Mum on
This time it’s to show our appreciation to our mothers who have
nurtured us through our formative years and sacrificed their sanity to
bring us up.
Whilst it’s nice to push the
boat out and take them to a
restaurant, it’s just as nice to
cook for them personally and
show the love. It doesn’t need
to be complicated but a gesture
goes a very long way. I
remember my father cooking
for my mother once on this
occasion. He put a frozen pie,
some frozen chips and some
frozen peas in a frying pan,
covered it all with oil and
brought it to the boil - disaster!
One of the reasons I became a
chef was obviously self-preservation!
This time of year, spring lamb is always beautifully sweet and tender,
and also reassuringly expensive, but worth every penny. Keep an eye
out too for Jersey Royals and the first shoots of apple mint which all
combine beautifully for the perfect seasonal meal. When you have
prime ingredients such as these it’s a shame to do too much to them
but rather cook perfectly and savour the flavour.
I’m doing a rack of lamb for this month with dauphinoise potatoes
for a touch of decadence and courgettes with lime. A simple meal that
can be attempted by anyone and the potatoes are very forgiving!
On 30th April I am collaborating with Julie from Eat Well to be Well
and doing a healthy eating day at The Nook in Longdon. There will be
two cookery demos, a buffet lunch, a walk on the Chase, as well as
dietary advice from a nutritionist. We will be covering easy recipes for a
busy lifestyle focused on health and cost awareness. Email Julie at
email@example.com to book.
Rack of Lamb
4 x 3 bone rack of lamb
1 x pint beef stock
1 x jar redcurrant jelly
1 x jar Coleman’s mint sauce
1 x teaspoon cornflour mixed with cold water
1 x peeled sliced onion
Preheat the oven to 180°. Put the beef stock on to boil and add ½
jar redcurrant jelly and 1 x tbsp mint sauce. Stir in and leave to simmer
for 10 minutes. Stir in some cornflour mixed with water and whisk
together. Add little by little
until you have the
consistency of sauce you
prefer. Put the sliced onion
on the bottom of a
roasting tray and place the
lamb on top. Put in the
oven to cook for 10-15
minutes depending on how
you like your lamb cooked.
At this time of year the
eye of the meat is generally
quite small so be careful
not to overcook it.
4 x large Maris piper
4ozs emmental cheese, grated
1 x clove garlic
1 x sprig rosemary
1 x fresh bay leaf (or dried)
¾ pint double cream
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 160° degrees. Take a baking dish and grease the
inside. Put the double cream in a saucepan with the rosemary, bay leaf,
salt and pepper and the crushed garlic clove and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile peel and finely slice the potatoes and place one layer on the
bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with some emmental. Repeat the process
until you have four layers of potatoes but don’t put emmental on the
top layer. Sieve and pour the double cream over the top and cover with
some tin foil. Put into a water bath and pop in the oven for 1 -2 hours
depending on how thick you have sliced the potatoes. Test with a knife
to see if they are cooked. Take out and sprinkle the top layer with the
emmental and leave to melt naturally.
2 x punnets raspberries
1 x pt double cream
2ozs caster sugar
1 x vanilla pod or similar
1 shot Chambord liqueur
or another favourite
Put ¾ of the raspberries
in a pan with the sugar and
Chambord add a dash of
water and bring to the
simmer stirring constantly.
Allow to cool. Whip the
double cream to a stiff
peak and fold in the cold raspberry mixture. Serve in a glass decorated
with the remaining fresh raspberries
Simon Smith runs a catering business from his production kitchen in Lichfield,
providing bespoke private dinners plus wedding, corporate and event catering.
Simon also undertakes cookery demonstrations around the country and with
local businesses such as Arthur Price and Tippers. During the summer months
Simon works for private clients both on superyachts and in villas in St Tropez
and Europe. If you are looking for catering or a day of cookery skills go to
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